02.09.2009 - 07.09.2009 31 °C
Hey, the first part of the blog was written in the past on a bus on the iPod so the tense may be a bit strange.
Today we took the bus from Siem Riep across our final land border crossing into Thailand and then to Bangkok. It was an early start but not as early as Angkor Wat! We were not sure what to expect as all the travel resources we had looked at claimed that the road to the border is notoriously bad and bumpy and un-roadlike. Howeverm there was still hope as my lonely planet which was published in 2008 claimed that there was evidence of construction at the time of writting. Also, the Danish couple I met in Sapa said that some of the roads had recently been finished.
The road WAS smooth and we got to the border at Poipet in no time. We then crossed the border which took no longer than expected. We then got into a mini bus (in which I have been writing this blog). Now it truly feels like we have left the roughinng it out bit of the trip behind us as and have entered a modernised country as evidenced by the smooth fast dual carriageway highway we ride (which the drive on the left on!).
We stopped at a petrol station for a toilet stop and to buy snacks at the petrol station shop. I finally got my first dim sum of the trip from a petrol station microwave.
The rest is now written now!
We eventually arrived in Bangkok into long traffic jams. What really hit me was the fact that we were somewhere with massive skyscrappers, that an that I saw a Tesco Express. We then went to a hotel which was supossedly a bit luxurious for the area. It was air conditioned, rooms had their own bathrooms (shared bathrooms are more common) and had a roof top pool. The only room they had was 700฿ which we thought was a bit pricey. We then went to other suggested places. All of them were expensive or full so we went back to the first place ass it seemeed to be worth it and quite reasonable for the area.
The next day we decided to go and see the city sights. A tuk tuk driver offered to do a full tour for a mere 20฿ we took him up on this offer. First we went to see a big buddah. some temples and this temple on a mountain. We also went to the tourist office to book a 3 day 2 night tour to Kanchanaburi. The reason we got such a good price on the tuk tuk is that he gets given free petrol (2 litres) vouchers for takinhg us to certain places. He took us to 3 tailors. The first 2 weren't very nice but the 3rd had really friendly people who gave us drinks and a special price as we were young students. I bought 3 shirts and Rob bought a suit. The tuk tuk driver got a futher 3 litres as we bought something. As a result our day's tuk tuk tour was absolutely free.
We then went to the MBK in the siam centre shopping area and truly embraced modern life by having a maccy ds. We then wandered around the massive MBK as I wanted to buy Mac OSX Snow Leopard for a discounted price. I found it for a full 3.80 pounds less than at home. (Bargain!). We tehn took the sky train and river buses back to the Khao San area.
The next day we went to the Royal Palace by river bus. We spent a couple of hours there then took the river bus to China Town where we had our first proper dim sum of the trip. We then headed to the MBK as I was considering buying a DSLR whilst here and would check prices.
We then walked further than expected for a tailor fitting. The guys gave us a beer whilst we got fitted! We then headed back to the MBK where we had dinner at the amazing food court. We then took a tuk tuk back for 100฿ with no stops (we didn't want to go to another tailor or the other businesses which were a little x-rated).
The next day we got up nice and early to get the 3 hour minibsu to Kanchanaburi which is near the border with Myanmar (Burma). The first stop was a cemetery in which contains the remains of just under 7000 British, Australian Dutch and a few American POWs from WW2 that were captured by the Japanese and sent to forced labour camps to build the Bangkok-Burma railway which was to be used to transport supplies overland without threat of allied submarines and bombers. We also went to a museum about the war and the bridge that crosses the river Kwai.
After this we had an hour long bus journey to the floatng resturaunt on the river that we would stay on. We had lunch then those of us staying on the two nights tour we went to Hell Fire Pass a former railway pass where many died building the railway through the mountain as the Japanese lacked tunneling skills. There was a really informative museum and a walk to the pass itself. Unfortunatley we could only walk to the pass and back as the trail beyond the pass had been obstructed by a rock fall. We then went to a small waterfall with refreshingly cool waters which I wandered into.
We then headed back to the floating resturaunt had dinner (way to soon after lunch) and then took the boat up stram to our beautifully located floating hotel. When we got there we had just enough time before sunset to jump into the river at one end and the let the current and then push us to the hotel bar a few metres away in which we had to resist the current and get back out and go back to the start a few times. We then got clean and had a fun night in the bar.
The next day some of us went to the beautiful Erawan waterfalls, a 7 tiered waterfall with lush clear blue water, in the jungle with pools which you could swim in. The trek was hard sue to the sliperiness but it was amazing. Me and the two other people I was walking with went swimming in the pool at the top level. It was cool. The pool was slippery to get into, what made it worse were these fish which nibble the dead skin of your feet and tickle a lot, but then again people pay 150฿ in Bangkok for this. On the walk down the 2 people I was walking and I saw loads of monkeys swinging in the trees which made this trip extra special.
We then went to have lunch. Then 4 of us went to these amazing limestone caves with no one else in. They were pretty cool. We then headed back to the hotel for another night of fun among the 5 of us on the 3 day trip, the guy staying there for a few days and the new person but not before another swim which was harder as the raft which helped us get onto the hotel was gone.
Today we got up much later. We then took the boat to go elephant treking. It was amazing if a little precarious. It was funny seeing other peoples elephants wander of the track in search of some tasty leaves.
We then headed back to the hotel to bamboo raft down to the resturaunt to get taken back to Bangkok. We wanted to swim (or float) the whole way down the river but the rain made the first half dangerousbut we got to float for about 30 minutes down to a rickety bridge near the resturaunt. We then jumped of the bridge. I didn't jump of it very well and slammed my chest bone hard against the water but then proceeded to swim quickly to the side so we could get to a jetty and avoid being swept past the resturaunt.
We then headed back to Bangkok. What an amazing worthwhile trip.
[uploading pics straight after publishing]